Turncoat #1 – #6

Turncoat

Rating: 5/5 – Too Many Heroes? How About Killing Some to Thin the Herd?
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Premise
Duke is a hitman who specializes in killing heroes.  Typically low-end starter heroes, though, just to keep their ranks in this super-hero universe ranks from swelling to Marvel/DC comics levels of proliferation. Then a contract comes in for the entire LIberty Brigade and things get interesting.  There are 6 issues at about 22 pages per issue available on the website at http://turncoatcomic.com/comic/cover/

What’s Awesome About It?
This online comic was tremendously fun to read, I blew through the 130 or so pages currently available in a single sitting, now the waiting game begins for new pages to be posted!   I’ve often thought there were too darn many super-heroes out there, and loved seeing a world where there was an organized effort to keep them down to a manageable level, kind of like when they have deer hunting season to keep that population down to a manageable level.    Writer Ryan O’Sullivan has a true gift for humor and his story is wonderfully illustrated by Plaid Klaus.  Don’t take my word for it, click the link and read it for yourself.  As with anything, your mileage may vary, but it’s currently free to read, so you’re not going to be out anything but some time and you could get a real treat, like I did.

My Thoughts
There are lots of alternate takes on super-heroes and parodies of the genre out there, I’ve read my fair share of them.  Turncoat stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of them, in my opinion.  Great art by Plaid Klaus balances just enough humorous/exaggerated art with crisp detail to really hit my eye just right.  Ryan O’Sullivan’s story starts with the basic ‘let’s kill some heroes’ flavor but twists off with sub-plots and machinations that arrive by issue #2 and spin the story in a completely different direction that is even more fun.  Duke could be one-dimensional but O’Sullivan makes him an interesting and even sympathetic character by weaving elements from his personal life into the story.  I click through and try out a lot of webcomics, not many get me me to stick around and read them all the way through to the point where I’m anticipating the next new page.  Turncoat did that.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
(bob@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Carbon Dating

CarbonDating

Rating: 4/5 – A Fun Comic Strip About Science, Pseudoscience, and Geeky Relationships
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo

Premise
Summed up best by its concise tagline, Carbon Dating is “a comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and geeky relationships.” Inspired by creator Kyle Sanders’ sense of skepticism, love of science, and relationship experiences, this web comic chronicles the humorous, wonky, and sometimes absurd life of a science geek and his friends. The web comic updates twice a week and has nearly two years of content to explore at http://carbon-comic.com/.


What’s Awesome About It?

The strip lampoons a lot of the speculative ideas and pseudoscience that permeate the public sphere by turning the critical eye of science on them. Whether it’s homeopathy, acupuncture, genetically modified food, or any other number of hot button issues, the protagonist wryly debunks them with a healthy dose of science, common sense, and humor. What I love best is that Sanders takes it a step further and usually includes a write up about the topic, sometimes at length and with citations, and encourages discussion in the comments section. The information can be thought provoking to say the least.

My Thoughts
There’s more to this web comic than the skepticism angle that permeates a lot of the strips. There are plenty of geek culture references, an eclectic cast that could be part of a Breakfast Club sequel, and a budding romance interwoven throughout. Since the strip is loosely based on Sanders’ own experiences, he will often share updates about his wife, baby, and life events. I like to think of it as a behind the scenes look at the making of Carbon Dating, as it’s obvious that he draws inspiration from them. Despite the short, three-panel format, there has been subtle character development and a progressing narrative that may not be apparent from reading a couple strips, but is noticeable over the long haul. Hopefully the strip continues for a good while longer because I really want to know what happens next. I also plan to learn a thing or two along the way.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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The Spookies

Spookies

Rating: 4/5 – A Raunchy and Offbeat Look Into the Lives of Monsters for Hire
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo

Premise
The Spookies web comic centers on a team of monsters whose job it is to ensure that things go bump in the night for all the unsuspecting, sleeping children. Despite the premise, which is akin to the animated film Monsters, Inc., this series contains “mature” subject matter and potty humor that is not suitable for kiddies. The web comic typically updates every Wednesday. There are plenty of published pages to read: http://www.spookiescomic.com.

What’s Awesome About It?
I liked the initial premise of the series and thought there was a lot of potential, but I’m also a fan of the condensed strip it has become over time with one-liners and zingers reminiscent of traditional Sunday comic strips. However, with its offbeat, raunchy, and sometimes offensive humor, this is definitely not something you’d find in a major newspaper! I really like that the creators stripped down the comic to its basic element and make no apologies about turning it into a device for fart jokes and off-color humor. More than once I found myself shamelessly laughing out loud at the inane shenanigans of the strip’s motley cast. I also like the art style, which easily lends itself to the humor while obscuring how uncouth the material can be.

My Thoughts
If you’re looking for an all-ages comic to share with your child, this isn’t it. If you’re easily offended, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear as well. But if you’re a fan of bawdy humor with plenty of references to bodily sounds and fluids, then this web comic may be for you. The strip is amusing for this reason alone, but there are also plenty of great pop-culture references to set off one’s geek radar and an array of whimsical, almost loveable characters. There’s a very loose narrative that binds the individual strips together, but there’s certainly not a requirement to read them all. Just like any good newspaper comic strip, each update offers is its own self-contained idea and joke. Along with my weekly trip to the comic shop I have another reason to look forward to Wednesdays.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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DragnaroK

Dragnarok

Rating: 4/5 – An Ambitious and Beautifully Illustrated Fantasy Story
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.

Premise
A fantastical world named Aradel is peacefully ruled over for millennia by powerful, wise, and benevolent Dragon Gods called Dragnaroks. When a prideful and overzealous DragnaroK rises to power, he creates a perverted version of man, which slowly begins to infect the rest of humanity. Hoping to outrun the spreading evil, survivors flee north to a land of promised safety. This web comic updates every 10-14 days and is currently on its 29th page. There is still plenty of time to catch up and get on board with this adventure at http://dragnarok.com/.

What’s Awesome About It?
What I love most about DragnaroK is the beautiful art. During the prologue, it looks like something that leapt off a book of fairytales. As the story shifts to the present, we get a clean and polished look that would feel right at home with any number of modern animated movies. The color palette maintains bluish tones throughout that highlight the general unease of the story, but is evocative when it needs to be with bright reds and oranges that imply imminent danger. There’s a slight bit of anime to the characters, with big beautiful eyes that accentuate the emotion being felt. The author, Magmi, also gets kudos for innovative use of the medium when she provides a separate computer file that mirrors the book the characters are reading in one scene. The provided “book” has animated page turns and shifting colors, but for those who want to read a static version, that is provided as well.

My Thoughts
DragnaroK is a solid piece of fantasy suitable for those who enjoy dragons, swords, and magic. There has been a lot of ambitious world building thus far, so the present tale set within has only just begun. I don’t really mind all the front end exposition, as it gives the story a solid foundation to build on. I think DragnaroK could benefit from a more frequent release schedule, as two weeks is a long time to wait for such a small piece of story. I could see a reader losing interest because of this, which would be unfortunate because it’s an interesting and beautifully illustrated story.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Story Town

Story Time

Rating: 4.5/5 – A Sweet, Funny, and Thought Provoking Web Series
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo

Premise
A bear that is fascinated with people leaves his home for the human world, where he learns that reality doesn’t always meet our expectations. Presented in a style reminiscent of an illustrated children’s book, the story is sweet, poignant, and funny. New story pages were released almost daily for two months or so and sometimes more than once a day. Ending at 93 pages, there’s plenty of content to enjoy at: http://www.redrocketfarm.com/storytown.

What’s Awesome About It?
The story initially looks like something for small children with its cartoony art and characters, but it is actually suitable for all ages. It makes many thoughtful observations about love, life, and growing up that I think everyone can relate to. I love that author/illustrator Jason Albin Thomas asked for opinions from the readers every so often as to how the story should unfold. He even asked for contributions to name a menu item at one of Story Town’s eateries.

My Thoughts
It seems like this would be a great story to follow with a child. At two years old, mine is just a little too young to follow along, but when he is older I will definitely encourage he reads it. Sharing this story would give us a chance to talk about many of the valuable thoughts, ideas, and feelings expressed throughout. For now, I enjoyed following the story myself and there were times I anxiously checked the website multiple times a day for updates. I would highly recommend giving this a read, whether you have a child, are a child, or you’re just someone who likes a great story.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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The Lost Boys of the U-Boat Bremen

Bremen-logo-button+credits-e1404876183283

Rating: 5/5 – Horror (Web)Comics Done Right!
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas

Premise
A German U-Boat takes on a top secret mission that’s more than it seems in a horror comic that’s reminiscent of the black and white horror magazines of the 1970s. The story opens with an old man reading a newspaper article that states that a sunken U-Boat has been found near Kirkwall. This prompts him to leave the house in a rush, but not before we see his wife pick up what looks to be a diary that recounts his life and horrific time aboard the U-Boat Bremen. there’s a new page released each Wednesday and so far there’s just under thirty pages so there’s plenty of content for you to catch up on here.
http://www.phillipkennedyjohnson.com/comic/Bremen/

What’s Awesome About it?
This feels like a story that’s right out of an issue of Creepy or Eerie! Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Steve Beach have created a compelling story that although combines elements of horror that we’ve seen before like Nazis and the Occult, they’ve done so in a way that is still frightening and original. The pacing is almost perfect as each week a page is released, only a day or two have passed. Between the story and art you really feel the slow passage of time, and the cramped and claustrophobic feel of the U-Boat.

My Thoughts
I was really surprised at just how well this comic nails atmosphere. The art by Steve Beach really makes this book stand out, and that in no way is meant to disparage the writing. When you see the cargo on the U-Boat for the first time you’ll find yourself lingering on that page for some time as it’s not only perfectly laid out and rendered, but also just so creepy. This is a story I plan on following, and re-reading again. The Lost Boys of the U-Boat Bremen has just given me yet another reason why Wednesdays are the best day of the week!

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Collectors

collectors3-23-14small

Rating: 4/5 – A Look Into the Life of a Collector and His non-Collector Spouse.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Premise
Collectors is a weekly strip published every Sunday about a comic collector (Eddie) and his wife Kristen who is NOT a collector.  The strip is not coincidentally written & drawn by Eddie deAngelini, a comic collector who lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kristen.  You can find the strip on-line here: http://collectorscomic.com/index.html.

What’s Awesome About It?
If you’re a collector or can appreciate the collector mind-set then you should find plenty here to love.  deAngelini is a collector and works in a comic store so his insights and humor on collecting really ring true (though his comic-strip doppleganger works in a generic office).  Great moments are sprinkled throughout the run and the counterpoint between a collector and his non-collecting spouse is something that a lot of collectors can likely relate to.

collectors3-10-13small

My Thoughts
The art is fairly standard for a humor strip and gets the point across, it sits somewhere between Cathy and Drabble on the art style continuum.  It’s the writing that is the clear draw here.  I see a lot of myself in Eddie, which is a clear draw for me, and his long suffering wife Kristen makes me think of what I’ve put my poor wife Janine through over the years with my collecting (see the strip above for an example, I’ve done this…)  This strip is highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
(bob@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Posted in Gag Strip, Humor, Slice of LIfe | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment